Old Nice-Jillian

When you think of France, things like the Eiffel Tower, baguettes, and berets come to mind, right? I was no excuse to this common preconception prior to my excursion to the Le Sud de France. After my five week stay in Nice with my host sister Marion and her wonderful family, I experienced an abundance of lush scenery and surprisingly friendly people.

Although I never got around to see the Eiffel Tower or Paris for that matter, Marion gave me the best taste of the South of France I could of dreamed of. Amongst our escapades, we ventured through the back country to a cozy cottage in Sospel, did an overnight hiking trip through Refuge de Valmasque in the French Alps, endured an above the ground obstacle course through the woods and went ziplining across vast mountains.

Amongst these ventures, camping in Sospel is my most favorite memory. I say camping, but what I really mean by that is we pitched up tents in the backyard of a cottage home a couple hundred feet away from the house. We all stayed up late running from one side of the grassy yard to the other, playing board games and telling ghost stories underneath our blankets. The summer air smelled of lavender and the feeling I felt inside me was pure freedom. In the morning, as if it were a scene out of a movie, the adults made a lovely breakfast for us. Croissants, chocolate, fresh fruit, cheese, sandwiches, lemonade, all laid out on a table covered in a blue and white checked table cloth. The warm climate mirrored the warmth of the people whom I was surrounded by. All of us sat down to eat, cheerfully mixing our English and French as if language barriers didn’t exist. The rest of the afternoon was filled with croquet, wandering down to the river, and frolicking around the lush green grounds.

The South of France blew me away. It is such a multi-faceted region, with beautiful views, floral greenery surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and the most vibrant buildings stacked on top of each other like Legos. The beauty of the south is that in just a quick drive, walk, or bus ride, you can go from Monaco to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The myriads of cities are neighbored so closely, making it perfect (and easy) for its tourists and travellers to explore. I now understand why French painters throughout the ages are inspired to create their own interpretation of the beauty of France on their easels!

That was my first time venturing out of the United States. I had never been exposed to this level of adventure before in my life. Travelling to any foreign land can be scary, you are fearing the unknown, but that’s also the most thrilling aspect of travelling somewhere new. I am forever grateful to have these adventures to look back on, and your opportunities can be endless too if you’ve got the right mindset.